Friday, August 15, 2008

7 Ways to speed up your blog

I'm sure you don't want your users to get frustrated on your site, one of the main reasons why most of the first time bloggers won't get back their users is the speed of their blog. I have seen posts by first time bloggers on many webmaster forums, many of them ask the same question how to speed up their site. I myself have seen many sites which are very slow and almost all have been just recently started, so there is no chance of heavy traffic. Even at the worst case your site should be able to load within 6 seconds, if it exceeds that limit your users may press the back button. Before people taught the simpler the site, the faster it runs, as Google is fast because it is very simple looking. But recently there are many blogs which are have heavy content but still load as fast as Google. Is there any way to increase your sites speed without upgrading your server or bandwidth? Yes, there is I have gathered up to 10 ways to increase your sites speed and I'd like to call this speed optimization.

Optimizing images and their formats
When you are editing an image on an image editor say 'save to the web'. Images are somethings that bring your speed down by almost 20%. After optimizing the images, you'll have to store it in the right format. For photographs I would advise you to use JPEG as it is good for images which have many colours. For logos, buttons or anything that is not blended with many colours you can use GIF.

CSS instead of images
By images I do not mean photographs, I meant the images you use for adding graphics. Cascading Style Sheets can help you create outstanding graphics without the use of any images. This helps improve your website style and also increases your speed. I have experimented with some and it as truly worked out, but for doing this you'll need to know advanced CSS. You can learn it at CSS ZenGarden.

Avoid flash templates
I have seen many websites which are fully built on flash. This is a very bad idea, your website takes a lot of time to load. If you really want to use flash, don't use a full flash template, instead use flash components in external files and add them to your site.

Reduce HTTP requests
Every time a user opens your web page all objects and scripts run separately and there will be multiple requests to your server and this takes a few seconds. You can reduce this by reducing objects and merging scripts.

Compress your HTML size
You can do this by using Gzip, it helps you reduce the size of your HTML, which helps to load faster, but it does not compress images, flash and embedded files.

Avoid Javascript
Javascript increases your http requests, and thus slows down your server. Many blogs use archives, search and comments using javascript. There isn't any good alternative, so the lesser the better.

Clean-Up your CSS
Almost all blogs today use CSS as it has good features. If you want it to load fast then you should clean it up, reduce the white spaces and try to use external stylesheets.

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